Avignon is situated on the left bank of the river Rhône, about 508 km (360 mi) southeast of Paris. Avignon is famous as it is the city to which the Popes fled when leaving the corruption of Rome in the 14th century. The Palace of the Popes (Le Palais des Papes) was built, it is the world's largest Gotich edifice. It was largely emptied over the centuries, and it’s wast stone rooms are today filled with little more than old frescos, but it is still an imposing building.
|The Palace of the Popes overlooks a lively square. Nearby are the museums the Petit Palais and Palais du Roure, and not far away stands the famous bridge, Pont d' Avignon, built in the middle ages, before the arrival of the popes. Notre Dame des Doms is a Romanesque cathedral built during the 12th century, the most prominent feature of the cathedral is the gilded statue of the Virgin which surmounts the western tower. The mausoleum of Pope John XXII is one of the most beautiful works within the cathedral. Minor churches of the town include St Pierre, which has a graceful facade and richly carved doors, St Didier and St Agricol, all three which were built in the Gothic architectural style.
A popular tourist destination is the Place du Palais, just next the Place de L'horloge, although these places are rather expensive and crowded during the summer months. Within short distance in just about the same direction are the smaller squares frequented by the locals, and with much lower prices. Recommended is the Place Pie, with its covered market which sells fresh produce, cheeses, wines and produits du pays.
Avignon has its own airport, Avignon - Caumont Airport, situated about 8 km southwest of Avignon. Avignon furthermore lies on the TGV fast train line from Paris to Marseille, it takes about 3 hours with the TGV from Paris. TGV's call at Avignon TGV, about 2 km out of town, while local and regional trains call at the central station. A weekly Eurostar service from London operates every Saturday in the summer. The journey takes approximately 6 hours.